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The History of Indonesian Pop Music
by Alex Cosper (4/25/13)


Indonesia became independent of Dutch rule in the 1940s, allowing the country to develop its own national culture. Folk music known as kroncong developed with western influences throughout the 20th century. The country's government has institutionalized and supported its music industry through P.N. Lokananta since the late 1950s. The first president of Indonesia was Sukarno, whose son Guruh Sukarno became a pop star in the 1970s.

Dangdut is very popular type of dance music recorded by artists such as Rhoma Irama, Elvy Sikaesih and Inul Daratista. The music became big in the late 1970s and was similar to American disco and rock. Irma liked to sing about utopian ideals and peace. His song "Rupiah" was meant to criticize greed, but was banned in 1977 for its portrayal of Indonesian currency. Another type of traditional music is called bamboo music, which comes from homemade bamboo poles. Bamboo music was popular during the late fifties while Indonesia underwent turbulent times.

Koes Bersaudara, which transformed into Koes Plus, heavily influenced by the Beatles, became a controversial musical pioneer in the 60s and70s. The band successfully fused western contemporary styles in their music, but members were arrested for playing Beatles songs, which had been banned by Sukarno. Some of the band's popular songs included "Bis Sekolah," "Kelelawar" and "Kembali Ke Jakarta." In 1969 the band changed their name to Koes Plus and remained active on the concert circuit for several decades. Rock bands who became popular following their success included the Mercy's, Panbers and D'lloyd.

Popular acts of the new century are Noah, Radja, Gigi, Dewa 19, Sheila on 7, D'Masiv and Nidjiiwww/gpp. The band Noah was originally known as Peterpan through 2008 and has been putting out catchy songs since 1997. Radja, like many Indonesian rock bands, comes from Jakarta. The band started becoming popular after their third album when platinum in 2004. Gigi began a long string of albums starting in 1994, built on the songs of Dewa Budjana. By the mid 1990s they were one of the nation's top acts.

One of the most successful recording artists in Indonesian history has been the rock band Jamrud from Cimahi. They have had a career of several million selling albums and have won countless awards. Several different members have come and gone since its formation in 1989. Between 1996 amd 2011 the band released nine studio albums.









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